PubAcademy UK: Publishers’ Choice

Our penultimate PubAcademy of the year took place on November 9th in London, bringing publishers and buyers together to discuss the choices publishers are forced to make in order to successfully navigate the sometimes choppy waters of programmatic. We also took this opportunity to discuss how sellers and buyers can work better together to ensure all parties involved realise the value on offer.

Through the discussions that took place, we were able to identify the four key themes that seemed to resonate well with attendees:

Publishers Want to Take Back Control of Ad Decisioning

It would seem that the majority of our industry is familiar with the concept that today’s legacy ad serving infrastructure is ill equipped to help publishers manage and capture holistic yield. It is clear that many publishers are still trying to figure out how they can explore and implement alternative, open ad serving set-ups whilst minimizing the disruption to their businesses.

Working with a holistic monetization platform such as PubMatic SEVEN, with its modular approach, allows publishers to choose which products or solution sets they want to integrate and when. Only by having this choice will publishers truly be able to realise the full potential of their digital assets.

Publishers Want Partners, Not Tech Vendors

While the continued evolution of the market, its increasing complexity, and the plethora of tech vendor choices available all play a role in driving programmatic spend, they have just as much potential to inhibit growth as well.

In that light, our key panelists highlighted the importance of establishing two-way partnerships between publishers and their tech vendors. When publishers are evaluating technology partners, the primary concern is finding ones that are open, transparent and willing to integrate with each other for the good of the publisher and the overall digital media market.

Header Bidding is Still a Hot Topic, But The Conversation is Evolving

During our discussion we challenged the hypothesis that header bidding is little more than “waterfall” 2.0. Many publishers are still allocating priorities as they continue to build out strategies around their direct sold books of business and where the sweet spot can exist between the IO and programmatic direct. Regardless, all of our publisher panelists were in agreement that header bidding has had a positive effect on yield and that it’s here to stay. The conversation is evolving, as is the need. Having to manage multiple header tags and the impact they have on page performance and user experience remains a concern.

Hence the exploration of the pros and cons of solutions that address these potential issues, such as wrapper tags and server side integrations, are going to be vital over the coming months. Looking forward, there remains a lot of uncertainty around whether open source or proprietary is the route to take. The jury’s still out, but expect a verdict soon.

Publishers and Buyers Still Have Work to Do to Make the Marriage A Happy One

Our panel of publishers and buyers shared some of their key asks of each other to help everyone realise the potential that programmatic offers. In no particular order:

  • Make PMP deals more discoverable and design them to meet buyers’ needs. Building PMP deals around curated audiences, for example, or being sure to support the buying models of agencies;
  • Design PMPs to be ‘always on’ and proactively troubleshoot when they are underperforming;
  • Design offers that support the buying models that agencies will be adopting in 2017—the combination of programmatic AND automated guaranteed, for example;
  • Provide access to more targetable and segmented second-party data to drive increased bid density;
  • Finally, communicate more frequently and be more transparent.

pa_logofinaluk112216About PubAcademy

PubAcademy is a global industry education initiative PubMatic launched to help ensure our customers and partners are in the best position to achieve their individual business goals and address the unique set of challenges that they face in this ever changing world of programmatic.

For more information about our platform, SEVEN, visit PubMatic’s website here or email info@pubmatic.com. To find out more about PubMatic’s PubAcademy events, including when the next one will be held in your region, or to suggest a topic or speaker for a PubAcademy session, email PubAcademy@PubMatic.com.

Header Bidding – Can It Be Contained?

This article is authored by Jeff Hirsch, CMO at PubMatic.

This article is authored by Jeff Hirsch, CMO at PubMatic.

I got you.

In truth, header bidding is already out of the box and there is no stopping it. Ad tech companies that built their business on controlling inventory access will need a different model as control moves back into the hands of the publisher. Many companies are scrambling to make sense of the new market dynamics and catch up, and the industry has taken some Wild West style responsive measures.

What does the proliferation of header bidding really mean for the ecosystem? For buyers, header tags democratize inventory (I’m intentionally staying away from the “commoditization” moniker), allowing them to gain access via the right tech to help ensure accurate auction dynamics. That’s good for buyers and is sure to bode well for digital spend, be it desktop, mobile or any other screen. For sellers, header bidding creates the opportunity for significant yield lift, with the caveat that the issue of tag management moves front and center, becoming critical to publishers’ success.

The next piece of the puzzle is wrapper/container technology. Basically, a portion of publisher-side ad serving has moved into the header of a page (even Google missed this trend), creating the new model for a programmatic world. If you follow the continuum along its natural path, the next wave will result in purposeful programmatic technology built to unify ad serving against all demand.

You think some tech providers are behind on header bidding? When you consider the need for a wrapper to do this right, that is likely a huge understatement.

To be truly valuable, wrapper technology needs to not only provide a container for all header tags, but also must provide easy-to-use and easily accessible management tools for publishers to be able to make sense of all their header demand. It should create a transparent environment based on the principles of access and fairness. Inventory controls should be back in the hands of the inventory owner. Supply-side tech companies should facilitate all of this, not limit it, and should therefore be completely open to integrating all demand in order to serve the best interests of the publisher.

For the record, PubMatic implemented our first header tag tech in 2012 and released our enterprise-level wrapper solution last year. We listened to the market and addressed the need early on, taking into account our customers’ needs above all else. Publishers are back in control and players (including Google) who have built businesses on their backs are officially being de-leveraged. Oh, did I mention that our wrapper features open-source tags AND publishers don’t have to pay a dime for it?

We are ahead of the game and putting our money where our mouth is. Ready to talk?

To find out more about PubMatic’s header bidding and Wrapper Solution, email info@pubmatic.com and stay up to date on all of the latest news by following @PubMatic on Twitter.

Thriving in a Fragmented Ecosystem: The Case for a Unified Ad Server

Kristen Fellows, Senior Director, Product Marketing

Kristen Fellows, Senior Director, Product Marketing

When it comes to the current state of ad serving, Gavin Dunaway, the Senior Editor of AdMonsters, said it best: “It’s time to shift our focus from workarounds to a long-term solution. And that involves reconsidering how the ad server operates.

It’s true: efforts to keep pace with more impressions, more technology, more touch points, and the level of relevancy required by consumers led to a highly fragmented technology stack that continues to fall short of publishers’ needs. As new screens, formats and channels are added the infrastructure only becomes more cumbersome. In fact, current ad serving solutions have evolved from complex (and expensive) to actually inhibiting revenue growth for publishers.

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In light of all of this complication and chaos, we want to address three of the biggest challenges facing publishers in the digital media ecosystem today—managing fragmented inventory, optimizing across demand channels, and overcoming difficult system integrations—and PubMatic is developing solutions to help solve for each of them.

Challenge #1: Managing fragmented inventory.

According to research from Winterberry Group, on average marketers use more than 12 different tools—and some as many as 31 or more—to manage campaigns and data[1]. We all know that publishers face this same challenge, as complexity is evident across the entire digital ecosystem.

With that in mind, take a look at the diagram above. Let’s assume that publishers have different log-ins, UIs, and workflows for IO-based, programmatic, native, mobile and video campaigns (which clearly is a reality for many companies). Now imagine you’re in Ad Ops creating campaigns, managing inventory, doing optimizations, and configuring channels… the resulting amount of time spent learning and leveraging various solutions is staggering.

Imagine the time you’d save if you could do all of this from one location.

That’s where our Unified Ad Server comes in. We built it from the ground up with the goal of simplifying the workflow associated with managing both programmatic and non-programmatic demand, various screens, and ad formats—all from a single dashboard.

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Challenge #2: Optimizing across demand channels.

You might be thinking ‘Great, I can see all my inventory in one place, but what good is that if I can’t optimize across those various sales channels?’ Publishers are looking to increase monetization, and with existing solutions they’ve had to do a bit of guesswork to determine how to best do that. Until recently, no easy, simple option existed for optimizing across demand channels, despite the importance of the ability to do so on publishers’ bottom line.

In a discussion on the topic at a recent PubAcademy, the head of revenue operations for a large, US-based media company described how his organization uses a combination of tech partners and tools (as many as eight or nine in some scenarios) to address this issue: “We do allow our indirect revenue sources—whether associated with private exchange deals or open exchange deals, to compete with and even trump our direct sold campaigns.”

At PubMatic, we believe not only in giving publishers as much control as possible, but also offering simple solutions for complex challenges. With our Unified Ad Server publishers can decide if and how much programmatic demand like open market RTB and private marketplaces competes with direct sold campaigns (i.e. guaranteed line items)— and to do so on an impression-by-impression basis. Publishers can determine which direct line items they want programmatic to compete with, the degree of impact on higher priority line items they’re willing to accept, and weigh that against the potential monthly revenue upside.

Feedback from Bonnier Tidskrifter, an early adopter of our Unified Ad Server, highlights the importance of addressing these major publisher pain points. “It’s great to see companies like PubMatic developing the ability for publishers like us to optimize revenue across channels,” said Bonnier Tidskrifter Head of Programmatic Stefan Carlsson, “Especially without sacrificing guarantees.”

Challenge #3: Difficult system integrations.

Given all of the challenges and complications we’ve discussed thus far, is it at all surprising that another major publisher challenge has to do with the difficulty of trying to integrate with different partners and navigate the “ins and outs” of using various systems?

Since our inception in 2006, PubMatic has been focused on publishers’ needs, and we believe that the ability to leverage the insights and expertise that publishers have built over the lifetime of their business is invaluable in differentiating themselves and succeeding in today’s marketplace. That’s one reason why we built our Unified Ad Server as part of our customizable, modular solution. We want publishers to continue to use their proprietary workflows, systems, and in-depth knowledge of their own businesses to truly establish a competitive advantage in the crowded digital media ecosystem.

As one industry expert recently commented at a PubMatic PubAcadmey, featuring header bidding-related content, “There’s a need in the market for a more progressive ad serving solution than DFP.” At PubMatic, we certainly agree, and we encourage you to take a few minutes to find out more about our Unified Ad Server and all of the other components of our revenue management platform, SEVEN.

To learn more about PubMatic’s Unified Ad Server, the company’s comprehensive revenue automation platform, SEVEN, or any of the other PubMatic products and services, visit www.pubmatic.com or contact your PubMatic Account Rep.

[1] “Too Many Tools? New Data on the Complexity of Marketing Technology,” HubSpot Blog. 15 Feb. 2015.

PubMatic Hackathon 2016

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On Thursday, February 4, PubMatic employees across the globe will team up for PubMatic’s second hackathon, dubbed The Innovation Contest at PubMatic, which will take place simultaneously in its Pune, Redwood City, and New York City offices. This 36-hour event will focus on creating solutions that will help drive monetization for our publishers and help us achieve our goal of exceeding our customer’s expectations. Last year’s winning teams won cash prizes for developing an intuitive and intelligent search, discovery and recommendation engine, an optimized user sync pixel for DSP, and real-time bid throttling for an ad server.

We’re looking forward to seeing the groundbreaking ideas that emerge this year. Learn more about The Innovation Contest at PubMatic.

How Analytics Can Increase PMP Revenue for Publishers

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By: Jim Tarr, Director of Product Marketing Big Data & Analytics 
Alaric Thomas, Director Product Management Big Data & Analytics

Private marketplace (PMP) adoption continued to increase in 2015, and there are no signs of it slowing down. eMarketer estimates that PMP spending will reach $3.65 billion this year and grow 35% to a projected $4.93 billion by 2017. These gains are driven, in part, by the premium prices that PMP inventory garner. PubMatic’s Q3 2015 Quarterly Mobile Index Report found that PMP CPMs are higher than non-PMP CPMs, by a factor of 5-6x for mobile PMP and 3-4x for desktop PMP.

Publishers are embracing PMPs as a means to gain more control over which advertisers run on their premium inventory in the programmatic space. Buyers are interested in PMP as it allows them to better reach their target audience through a publisher they trust, with the benefit of access to premium inventory that might not otherwise be available in the open market.

While PMPs will likely continue to be an effective programmatic solution in 2016 for publishers and buyers alike, they present some challenges. For publishers, issues like finding the right buyers, setting pricing and troubleshooting can create barriers to successful PMP implementation. However, with the right data and actionable information, these challenges can be overcome. The following are a few suggested strategies for publishers to address these issues by leveraging analytics.

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